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Found Footage Films

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Well, at least they were nice enough to label it, as well as what to do with the tape.

"Every frame of this movie looks like someone's last known photograph."

Movies that are shot to resemble actual camera footage recovered from an event. They typically contain a fair bit of Stylistic Suck, owing to the conceit that they are being filmed by people who aren't professional filmmakers.

A large number of films using this approach tend to be horror movies; the approach lends itself nicely to low-budget film-making and it positions the audience right in the center of creepy and terrifying events. The concept became a sensation after The Blair Witch Project, though it goes back to Cannibal Holocaust in The '70s, at least as a technique of film. In other mediums it goes back at least to the early 20th century. The majority of H. P. Lovecraft's works were presented as found manuscripts, reports, or other such things made to look like an actual first-hand account with the untold horrors. Dracula was written in this style, the story being told through a number of diaries and newspaper articles giving the appearance that Bram Stoker had collected them to document the story.

The subgenre saw a resurgence in popularity starting at the end of the Turn of the Millennium within the horror genre thanks to the success of Paranormal Activity, along with the decreasing cost and increasing availability of digital cameras. Other recent, non-horror films utilizing the format include Chronicle, Project X and Best Night Ever, as well as the TV series The River.

Compare Mockumentary, Based on a True Story, Vlog Series. See also Apocalyptic Log, which lends itself nicely to this style of filmmaking. Analog Horror also falls in a similar vein. The text equivalent is Scrapbook Story. The term "found footage" can also refer to footage that is re-appropriated (that is to say, treated as a found object), and consequently "found footage film" can also refer to a video collage.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Flag - not a live-action production, but uses the same presentation style

    Films — Live-Action 


    Live-Action TV 
  • 2013 (a Belgian TV series)
  • The Doctor Who episode "Sleep No More"
  • The Australian TV series Jeopardy (not to be confused with that one) made heavy use of found-footage early on, when it was more Blair Witch-esque.

  • The video for "One Last Time" by Ariana Grande, which was done by the writer of Chronicle above.
  • The video for "Beauty and a Beat" by Justin Bieber, whose synopsis is that it is Bieber's "personal footage" that was stolen and illegally and distributed by an "anonymous blogger".
  • The video for Ludacris' "How Low", in which a trio of teenage girls film themselves summoning Ludacris in the mirror, Bloody Mary-style, by dancing in front of it.

    Radio Drama 
  • The 1949 Suspense episode "Ghost Hunt" features a similar premise involving an audio recording.

    Video Games 
  • Amanda the Adventurer
  • Black Snow – the game's entire story is what Jon Matsuda's camera recorded before "you" find it.
  • Luigi's Mansion 3 has a brief segment with found footage. Professor E. Gadd had sent a Toad to retrieve an important gadget to help Luigi and had the Toad record himself during his search. The Toad gets ambushed by ghosts and had to flee, dropping the gadget and the camera in the process. Luigi has to use the recording to figure out where Toad and the gadget are.
  • Michigan: Report From Hell is essentially a playable found footage movie, with the player controlling the cameraman of a news crew in a horror setting. What's strange is that the identity of your cameraman changes depending on what ending you get.
  • Outlast (stylistically invoked with the video camera you use for night vision)
  • Paranormal (a haunted-house investigation video game)
  • Resident Evil 7: Biohazard features this in some moments, where you can watch videos left behind by people who'd gone through the house before you, all of which are fully playable.

    Web Video 

    Western Animation 
  • The Scooby-Doo Project (a Deconstructive Parody of the genre).
  • Looney Tunes:
    • In ''The Adventures of the Road Runner" (a proposed 25-minutes series pilot), the Coyote shows us he keeps a photographic record of his activities in pursuing the Road Runner so he can isolate his mistakes and correct them. He has movie cameras strategically placed throughout the desert. (Some of the scenes were repurposed for the later cartoon "To Beep or Not To Beep"; the segment itself was re-edited in 1964 as "Road Runner A-Go-Go.")
    • "Prehysterical Hare" has Bugs discovering a reel of movie film from prehistoric days. It focuses on Elmer Fuddstone and his hunt for the sabertooth rabbit.

Alternative Title(s): Found Footage